Peaceful Demonstration In Yapen met with Police Intimidation and Arrests

After unsuccessful requests for permission from the head of police in Yapen Island, West Papuan activists planned a peaceful demonstration to express their opposition of the special autonomy law which is anticipated to be enacted soon. While attempting to express their opinion activists face intimidation and backlash from police forces. While Indonesia claims to be the fourth largest democracy they continue to deny requests for peaceful demonstrations and respond with violence and intimidation when demonstrations take place.

On the morning of the proposed demonstration in Serui, Yapen, West Papua police arrested Sius Ayemi and Efraim Siburi Masi for coordinating the event. Despite these arrests, the demonstration proceeded and was met by heavily armed Indonesian military and police forces. The demonstration was disbursed after shots were fired at three young men and more arrests were made by Indonesian police including Edison Kendy, a leader of WPNA, and 5 other activists.

After the demonstration was disbanded, activists that had attended the event were pursued by Indonesian military forces and interrogated in public. Indonesian police conducted subsequent visits to those they believed to be in attendance for interrogation.

As of September 30, 2020 10 activists had been arrested as a result of their participation in the demonstration. On October 1, 2020 the 10 activists that had been detained were released from Indonesian custody. Indonesian police continue to visit the homes of activists they believe to be involved.

This is a developing story and updates will be posted.